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Chapter 9. The Balance Hand > SUCCESS CARD 44: Say No

SUCCESS CARD 44: Say No

Saying no can be an easy way to achieve more balance in life. Balance requires controlling your anxiety, your clutter, your breathing, and your self-talk. You must also control your choices. Do you let yourself get overscheduled with more activities than time allows? Are you involved in toxic relationships with people who drain your energy? Have you developed some bad habits? Do you let others interrupt you or take advantage of your time? Women are frequently guilty of trying to be people pleasers. Saying yes is just easier than facing the conflict or rejection that often results from saying no to something. Avoiding saying no can also be tied to culture. Japanese rarely use a direct no; in that culture, indirectness is seen as a sign of maturity and power.

No is a favorite word of young children. They say it easily and often. If they don't like the food, clothes, friends, or toys, they have no problem letting you know. This is part of the growing-up process; by saying no, they're exploring their boundaries and expressing their free will. Something happens as you age, however: You are bombarded by cultural messages that encourage you to conform and seek the approval of others. You want to be seen as a nice person, so you placate others rather than run the risk of offending them. You could allow yourself to get maneuvered into situations you're not comfortable with. You may accept unjust criticism without challenge. Quite often we can't even say no to ourselves; we allow ourselves to procrastinate, to give up, to give in, to shirk responsibility. The inability to say no when you need to can lead to a number of unhappy conclusions; you could be moving yourself further and further from your values and goals and heading toward feelings of isolation and resentment.


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